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For $25 an hour, they'll lie in bed all day — in the mall

Sylvia Olechowski and Kostas Stoilas are being paid $25 an hour to model this BoConcept bed.

Dalia Colón | Times

Sylvia Olechowski and Kostas Stoilas are being paid $25 an hour to model this BoConcept bed.

For the next two weekends, Sylvia Olechowski and Kostas Stoilas will have the easiest job in Tampa. The friends were selected from dozens of applicants who answered this craigslist ad:

Lay in a hip bed, on a memory foam mattress, all day — drink free coffee, read newspapers and magazines, just take it easy and get paid!!!

The catch?

The bed's in the middle of WestShore Plaza mall.

To promote its upholstered platform beds, BoConcept furniture store will pay Olechowski and Stoilas $25 an hour to lie in a queen-sized model from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday this weekend and next. Their only job is to look as comfortable as possible. A store in the mall will supply loungewear.

Olechowski and Stoilas don't have to know anything about the bed. A stack of brochures will handle that. If passers-by want more info, they can head to the BoConcept store, where the custom beds are priced from $1,949.

Olechowski learned of the opportunity from her roommate, who knew she was looking for a job. The aspiring interior designer hopes this gig will lead to full-time work at BoConcept.

The ad requested a couple, so Olechowski, who is single, recruited her friend Stoilas, also unattached, to apply with her.

"He's the most fun guy to talk to. He's probably the only guy that I would want to sit in bed with for that long," said Olechowski, 27, of Tampa.

When she inquired in person with Stoilas, 31, also of Tampa, store owner Ray Priddle decided they had the right look to represent BoConcept's contemporary Danish furniture: progressive, likable.

"You don't have to know anything. You're just lounging. That's what you're being paid to do," Priddle told the pair during their, uh, training on Tuesday.

Olechowski has checked out a stack of library books to occupy herself, and she'll bring an iPod stocked with movies. Stoilas, a commercial real-estate broker prepping for MBA classes, plans to read accounting texts.

Friends are already planning to stop by.

"They're going to mock us more than anything," Stoilas said.

Added Olechowski, "They're probably going to take photos to put on Facebook."

BoConcept will supply beverages and a lounge chair, in case the "workers" need a break from all that reclining.

BoConcept has been in WestShore Plaza since 2006.

In the past, independently owned stores worldwide have come up with their own promotional stunts.

In Priddle's native London, staffers held an outdoor tea party on one of the world's longest sofas.

In New York City, a couple sat in bed in the Madison Avenue storefront.

The Washington, D.C., folks were hired to hang around a subway station in their pajamas.

Priddle toyed with the idea of setting up beds on a beach, as the store in Jacksonville did recently, but he decided the air-conditioned shopping center had more appeal. And by putting people in a bed in the mall, Priddle reasoned, he'll draw more attention.

Olechowski and Stoilas will split the $25 an hour. Both say they'll use it to pay bills.

Priddle joked that he'll pay them extra for falling asleep, because that would prove the mattress is comfortable.

"I'm a good spooner," Stoilas said with a laugh, "so we'll see what happens."

For $25 an hour, they'll lie in bed all day — in the mall 05/14/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 15, 2009 12:25am]
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